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Cumberland cannabis zoning changes to go to public hearing

Council wants to hear from residents

Jolene Rudisuela

Record staff

The Village of Cumberland’s Cannabis Retail Regulation Changes have been given a second reading and now, council is looking to hear from its residents.

On Aug. 8 at 6 p.m., the village is holding a public hearing in council chambers to hear residents’ comments, concerns and recommendations about the cannabis retail outlet zoning changes.

READ MORE: Cumberland council considers cannabis course

“The public hearing is the chance for anyone in the community who has any concerns in regards to the zoning change, to voice them to council,” said Ken Rogers, manager of development services. “This is not going back to square one and opening up a debate about the legalization of cannabis — it is the opportunity for everyone to voice their concerns.”

Though non-medical cannabis will not be legalized until Oct. 17, Rogers said the village is working to amend current bylaws in order to stay ahead of the provincial and federal governments. He added existing bylaws address medical marijuana and new terminology had to be introduced to match the province’s framework.

“We are opening up the zoning bylaws to introduce new definitions, change certain definitions and also indicate where a cannabis retail sales outlet would be permitted by council,” said Rogers. “It is giving potential vendors indication of, if you want to set up in the village, this area is what we’ll look at.”

The proposed zones have been amended to exclude Cumberland’s industrial areas from the zones cannabis retail outlets will be permitted.

Rogers said council’s decision to exclude this area was done to put more of a focus on the downtown core and emphasize the need to bring more merchants to the area.

READ MORE: Where will Comox Valley people go to buy their weed?

“The village is trying to promote business and a healthy downtown core and that is why council’s only entertaining a Temporary Use Permit for the time being,” said Rogers. “If something goes awry, and council doesn’t like the elements created by this type of business, we have the rights to restrict it within the municipality.”

The Village will only allow two cannabis retail outlets with three-year Temporary Use Permits.

The third reading of the Cannabis Retail Regulation Changes is scheduled for the Aug. 13 council, but Rogers said this may change depending on the results of the public hearing.